With a ‘no deal’ Brexit seeming more likely by the day, this post details Gardiner’s No Deal Brexit plan. Whilst it is unlikely that the UK will experience long-term catastrophic disruption from a no deal Brexit, there could be some significant short-term disruption which will impact us all.
Gardiner’s No Deal Brexit plan has considered what potential disruption we think may be relevant to our business, our Service Users and our team. Having a prudent and pragmatic approach to planning for these scenarios should minimise or prevent harm to our Service Users and staff.
Availability of medicines or medical devices
Medicines and medical devices are manufactured and traded internationally and at present, the UK is part of the EU network of approvals and trade. However, after Brexit, particularly if there are no agreed transitional arrangements, resulting from the UK leaving without a deal with the EU, there could be supply difficulties and increased tariffs which may affect the availability and prices of some products.
The Government is currently advising that “…There is no need to change the way that you order prescriptions or take your medicines. Always follow the advice of GPs and other health professionals who prescribe your medicines and medical products. There are enough medicines and medical products to meet current needs but if patients order extra prescriptions, or stockpile, it will put pressure on stocks, meaning that some patients may not get the medicines they need…”
Where Gardiner’s, as a care provider, are responsible for collecting people’s medicines or devices, extra time or extra visits may be required to allow Care Workers to make repeat visits to pharmacies if supplies are running low or if products are not available. It may be necessary to check ahead that some products are in stock before going to collect them.
Even where Gardiner’s, as a care provider, are not normally responsible for collecting people’s medicines or devices, it may be that, in the event of supply difficulties, assistance is required from Gardiner’s staff.
Care Workers may need to stay additional time to help secure medication or medical devices for some Service Users. Any additional time will be charged to Service Users and paid to Care Workers as normal.
Where supply difficulties are preventing access for Service Users to medication or medicinal devices, the advice of local GPs and pharmacists should be sought, especially to identify and secure supply of products considered critical for each Service User.
Continence products & personal hygiene products
Those of us that use continence products will want to reassure ourselves that we will continue to have access to the products we need should normal supplies be disrupted. A disruption in supplies may be less likely for those products which are easy to store however some individuals may which to consider keeping a small back-up stock
The same considerations will apply to other items used daily, including access to cleaning products, toothpaste, emollient creams, moisturisers etc. Service Users, and staff alike, may which to consider keeping a small back-up stock just in case normal supplies are disrupted.
In the event of supply disruption, Care Workers may, for Some Service Users, need to provide additional help to secure continence products or personal hygiene products. Any additional time will be charged to Service Users and paid to Care Workers as normal.
Personal protective equipment
Most care workers will use disposable gloves and aprons as part of their day to day routines where supporting with personal care. To minimise our use of disposable (single use) plastic, our policy is already to limit the use of such PPE to higher risk activities where, for example, contact with blood, faeces or other bodily fluids could be expected.
Gardiner’s suppliers have reassured us that we will not face any supply disruption for PPE gloves or aprons. We will continue to hold at the Gardiner’s office a minimum two-week stock level for PPE. Gardiner’s also have accounts with alternative suppliers should they be needed.
Food: continuity of supply and safety
We will all need to ensure that we have an uninterrupted supply of safe food. In the case of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit the need for additional border checks may slow down or prevent the supply of some foods, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, currently sourced from the EU. As individual people’s diets and access to food outlets will vary, the impact of such supply interruptions to individuals will also vary.
Those of us whose diets are highly focused on fresh produce may be more susceptible to supply chain disruption than those which includes pre-packaged, frozen or tinned items. The use of contingency stocks or alternative suppliers will need to be considered on a case by case basis.
Many clients use a food delivery service for fresh or prepared foods. In these cases, it may be helpful to check the delivery service’s own contingency arrangements.
It may also be sensible to holding additional stocks of more non-perishable (tinned, dried) foods ‘just-in-case’ or frozen foods in our freezers.
Where Care Workers shop for (or with) the people we support, extra time may be needed to buy additional food stocks in advance of the Brexit deadline. In the event of food supply disruption, Care Workers may, for some Service Users, need to provide additional help to secure food products. Any additional time will be charged to Service Users and paid to Care Workers as normal.
It is important to correct understand the meanings of and importance of
- “Best Before” – foods used after their “Best Before” dates will still be safe to eat but may not taste as good.
- “Use By” – foods should not be used after their “Use By” date as they will not be safe to eat.
- “Display Until” or “Sell By” – these dates are used for stock control purposes by the retailer and are instructions for shop staff, rather than customers. The important dates are the “Use By” and Best Before” dates.
Access to fuel for vehicles
If there are major fuel shortages Government contingency plans would come into effect. Although it is unlikely that fuel supplies will be affected over a long period there may be localised shortages, perhaps due to panic buying. It is important that staff keep their fuel tanks topped up.
All staff are aware to contact their line manager or on call if they are unable to work. In the event of being unable to use their own car, staff will be expected to use alternative transport methods such as public transport or walking wherever possible. This may mean that extra time needs to be allowed for Care Workers to travel between Service Users. Some care duties may need to be covered by alternative Care Workers however it is important to check this with the Service User first.
Where Service Users need Care Workers to travel for support tasks such as shopping, in the event of fuel shortages, this may require an alternative Care Worker to visit or additional time to be allowed and other transport methods arranged for example taxi or public transport, or arranging delivery.
“Freedom of Movement”, which is a fundamental right of EU membership. If there is a “No Deal” Brexit, freedom of movement will end immediately when the UK leaves the EU and EU or EEA nationals entering UK will not have an automatic right to work in the UK.
At present, EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, and their families can apply to the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. If their application is successful, ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status may be granted. Irish citizens and those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK do not need to apply for settled status.
Gardiner’s No Deal Brexit plan reviewed our staff profile and we are confident that we do not expect staff turnover to increase as a result of a no deal Brexit, or to face any significant difficulty or change in managing the recruitment of replacement staff.
If you require extra care to help prepare for a no deal Brexit, to deal with the consequences of any disruption, or to discuss Gardiner’s No Deal Brexit plan, please contact us.